There’s a book called The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. It’s very inspiring and details ways different people have used $100 to start businesses. I agree: You absolutely can start a business with a hundred bucks. But I wish people would write less about the glorified high of simply starting a business and instead elaborate on the mucky and often painful personal growth required to sustain a business. There are tons of articles about the “$100 startup.” Show me articles about the “$100,000 buildup.” Here are few key business strategies that illustrate the need for personal growth in order to achieve business growth.
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Video: Dare to Be Seen
Everyone touts online videos these days. “Video is the future!” “You have to vlog!” But I’m here to share what most people don’t talk about. The reason many of us don’t jump on board with video is because we haven’t processed the trauma surrounding our fear of being seen. Trauma is trauma, no matter how big or small. For this traumatic healing to begin, you must dare to do a few key things:
- Own what you know, without fear of being labeled a know-it-all.
- Don’t assume everyone knows what you know.
- Stop denying the value of what you have to say.
The next layer of processing our fear of being seen? We need to feel safe to share. I crossed paths with a woman who invited me into her home for a video shoot. She told me silly jokes, got me laughing, and made me feel relaxed. She constantly reminded me of how great I was. There is a time and place for feather fluffing, and this was it! Then she did some magical video editing. It was a fun, safe place to be, and it was the only way anyone could get an authentic video out of me.
Finally, you need to face your childhood conditioning. Many kids are raised to sit still, be quiet, and not be seen or heard. When you’re conditioned to be quiet, you might never feel safe to express yourself. If you don’t face the scar, it becomes a boomerang. You chuck it and it will come back and knock you beside the head. Many of my clients are gratefully surprised when we start coaching them in business, then money, and inevitably end up examining family and personal lives as the origin of many issues.
Social Media: Pinpoint Your Message
Everyone talks about the power of social media, but it will do nothing for you if you haven’t taken the time to pinpoint your message. If you don’t know your message, your purpose, and the song that your heart wants to sing, then posting on social media is like having pebbles in your shoes: It’s annoying and tedious.
A message is not just a few words on a post. Your message often comes from your biggest wound and the greatest obstacle you’ve overcome. It’s not something you can think up on a whim. It’s something you live and work through, and then turns to wisdom, to be passed on to others. The good and the bad — that’s where your message reveals itself. How do you find your message? I hope this doesn’t disappoint you to hear, but you don’t find it. It finds you. Have you ever been in a life-threatening situation, in an emotional depression, in a life crisis that you never thought you’d overcome? But once you did, you can’t sleep at night because you know that what you’ve survived can serve someone else, and you’re compelled to shout that from the rooftops? That’s your message. That’s your authentic voice.
Authenticity rules on social media; doing the work to find your true message can only help your business in the long run. To start, you can compile all the times you were moved to tears and see what they have in common. It will usually lead you closer to your message.
Once you’ve found it, though, you may face a few fears and challenges when communicating it to the masses:
- The fear of judgment: What will other people think? That’s huge especially among the women I work with, because they’ve been conditioned to perform. They perform and achieve, await external judgement or validation, then form their senses of self-worth. So there’s this constant feeling of waiting for the shoe to drop, awaiting an external sentencing of their self-worth. “Was my message good enough? Was I good enough?”
- The fear of comparisons: You compare your beginnings to someone else’s middle, and you get overwhelmed by how “unsuccessful” you are, instead of focusing only on yourself.
- The fear of losing friends: When you grow, it’s natural to lose some friends, and sure, there may be some who don’t agree with your business or your message, for whatever reason. The bottom line? Friends who ditch you when you grow aren’t friends you want riding with you in your limo anyway.
- The fear of major life changes: After succeeding in business, you might realize you need to divorce a life partner, address family expectations, challenge gender roles, or face cultural biases.
I know, batshit scary inner work… work that you cannot successfully navigate on your own. And when you do, because everyone has fears and all the business champions have felt them and worked through them, you’ll feel so free. You’ll no longer be dragged down by that narcissistic ex-husband who criticises you 24/7.
You’ll no longer be conditioned by what others may or may not think. You’ll no longer judge yourself according to random external standards that aren’t even important to you. You’ll be free. You’ll be radiant. You’ll be magnetic. And it’s precisely this kind of lived freedom, radiance, and magnetism that attracts top-notch clients and customers.
Webinars: Break Social Conditioning
Webinars are all the rage now, and for good reason. Create one quality webinar that educates people on a key part of your business, and reap clients for years. But if you don’t devote the necessary time, energy, attention, and love to that webinar, you won’t get the big sales.
Many of my clients are in life situations in which they “parent” their own parents, co-parent their siblings, or are designated fixers in some other way. It’s easy to get caught up in this vortex. I was raised in a culture that conditioned me to think that my one and only purpose was to be my parents’ retirement cushion, savings account, and nursing home, all in one. When I was 19, a friend who was in her mid-30s sat me down and said, “Ella, children were not put on earth to raise their parents.” And that blew my mind. I had to scoop up pieces of my brain; they were all over the room!
I think it’s great if someone can and wants to take care of her parents. But if you’re sacrificing your joy, your own financial stability, and your entire existence for the sake of others, you will go to the grave with resentment engraved on your tombstone. I’ve witnessed this far too often.
We must learn to face the pain of saying no. It’s terrifying, but if we don’t, we will forever try to please others. And when we’re busy parenting the whole world, our webinars fall to the wayside, they become a burden, rather than a powerful platform to voice your message and shift hearts.
It can be incredibly painful to go through the process of peeling away the layers of what has held you back. But what’s the alternative: Regret engraved on your tombstone?